Over the summer, we enjoyed a memorable visit to Sidra Fran, the producer of Ramos del Valle traditional Asturian Cider. Sidra Fran is located in the very north of Asturias, 45 minutes away from Redes Natural Park. We were fortunate to stay in a beautifully situated eco-hotel (Tierra Del Aqua) at the top of a traditional village in the natural park.
Sidra Fran, in its third generation of family ownership and operation, was founded in 1918. Among the five siblings currently running Sidra Fran is lead cider maker Roberto Ramos.
First, Roberto gave us a tour of the Sidra Fran “Sidreria.” This is the name given to a traditional restaurant that serves cider and food. Traditionally, guests served themselves cider from huge wooden barrels with spigots at one end of the Sidreria.
Next, we visited the fermentation facility. The term for the cider production building in Spanish is “lagar.” This is similar to the word for winery. Roberto explained to us that each lagar has its own distinctive smell due to its own unique, naturally occurring yeasts that are used to ferment the cider. The fermentation is completely natural, and the cider is not filtered, resulting in a cloudy appearing natural product that is less than 7% alcohol.
We ended the tour with a visit to some of the apple orchards. Did you know that Asturias has more than 800 varieties of native apples, which are used to make cider? Additionally, because the cider is all-natural, there is very little residual sugar (<2grams/liter) and it is 100% gluten free.
A lesson on drinking traditional Spanish cider:
Whether straight from the barrel or from a bottle, cider should be “escandiada” or poured from an altitude into the glass to create the pleasant natural oxygenation. Additionally, only a few sips (a “culin”) should be poured at a time for maximum enjoyment.
Some traditional foods that we had in Asturias include oven-roasted baby lamb and traditional Asturian bean stew. Below we’ve even included a recipe for traditional Asturian cider sangria for your Autumn enjoyment.
"Secret" Spanish Hard Cider Sangria Recipe
(Courtesy of Carmen at the Hotel Tierra Del Agua, Asturias, Spain)
1 cup sugar
2 cans of Sprite/7-up or Fanta Limon
1 cup white rum (or pour bottle of white rum and count to 10)
1/3 bottle of Ramon Del Valle Spanish Cider
1 sliced green apple
2 sprigs spearmint
10 ice cubes
Mix all ingredients in a large jar and Viola!